Delight 13: Press Record

This post is part of a series of posts I’m writing on delight.

I’m big PVR/DVR guy. I record sports, news, shows, you name it. I realize in an age of streaming, the PVR has become somewhat antiquated but it’s still a useful tool for me. Specifically for sports. Given the amount of sports I like to consume, without it, it would be both impossible given many events are on at the same time as well as incredibly time-consuming given the length of these games and events.

For example, I’ve developed some strategies that get me through an NFL game very quickly. My remote has a 30 second advance button. Given there are 40 seconds between plays, a quick press will have me with the teams at the line of scrimmage ready to execute the next play. Fast forwarding over all the commercials and I can see every play in just over an hour. I also watch a lot of golf. If I’m following a particular player, I’ll fast forward to see all their shots and if it’s a close tournament, may watch the last couple of holes in its entirety. This weekend, I also taped game 7 of the NLCS. Given the drama of a game 7, I watched quite a lot of the inbetween stuff and ended up watching a 3 and a half hour broadcast in about 90 minutes.

For me, being able to do this on my own time after I spent most of the evening with my wife and kids and grandkids was a delight. Knowing the game was waiting for me rather than the other way around was equally empowering and efficient.

I know many who hate watching taped sports and that by skipping through all the down time you miss some of the drama and excitement. I would agree and for me, I’ll save that experience for very special events. I also know some who do not trust recording games. I have been victim to this many times including last month when I went to tape the US Open and found it did not record. That was the opposite of delight, although I fear my wife found a little delight in this. Her favourite related story is the famous Heidi game.

The power and value of asynchronous video has long been seen as revolutionary. Being able to press pause, be in control is a powerful feature that certainly translates to learning and education. For me it speaks to owning my time and each time. For the majority of sports I watch I prefer this. And yet sports viewing also has this community element where we can talk about the game with friends and fans. For many big games that I watch live, I’ll have twitter open and interact with others watching at the same time. But often with my close friends I won’t discuss the game until later anyway.

My goal in writing about delight was not necessarily to tie it to education but this one seems pretty obvious. With remote learning, it seems we are struggling to find the balance between synchronous and asychronous interaction. We can certainly see value in both and much of it is about personal preference and efficiency. For those new to virtual learning, they may long for those synchronous experiences as they most closely resemble the familiar. But we grow more comfortable, will we be able to find delight in owing our time? This is not to negate community but maybe community can thrive even if we aren’t learning the same thing at the same time.

Delight 12: Older Kids Playing with Younger Kids

I’m so grateful to be able to watch my granddaughter Harriet develop. I’ll freely admit that as a father of four, my recollection of my own kids’ childhood is fuzzy. Partly due to the passage of time and partly because all parents are focused on protection and providing that they can be less attentive to the joys of growing up.

We live in a neighbourhood with lots of young kids. Unlike many kids their age, they play outside and it seems to be a bit of a throwback to my Wonder Years. Not only that but they are kind and caring. So when Harriet comes to visit, we often walk around to see if any are playing outside. She’s watched them play before and had small interactions but today they invited her to play with them.

They let her tell them a story, played The Three Little Pigs, tag and taught her London Bridge. I stayed well back and watched. It was a delight. Not just how Harriet loved the attention but how the kids showed patience and creativity as they played.

One of my beliefs is that children should not be confined to learning and experiencing the world exclusively with peers of the same age. Certainly, there are many advantages and reasons why this is a useful construct but diversity is another powerful idea that in itself is part of our education. There are Inclusive Soft Play Designs that can promote interactive play among kids of all ages. Diversity is not just living with those with different cultures and backgrounds, it’s about developing a culture of care as older children mentor and support younger children. While reading buddies is likely the most common way this happens in schools, I would love to see both elementary and high schools consider more ways in which leadership and mentorship might be fostered through meaningful interactions with children who are not the same age.

Delight 11: Not Capturing the Moment

In case you weren’t aware, people and their phones can be a bit problematic. If you’re one of the rare breeds who is happy with the relationship you have with your phone, I bow to you. But most people I know are working to get better and even break up with their phone.

I read Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport a few months ago and am working on a number of the ideas from that book. One thing I’m doing more is not bringing my phone with me when I leave the house, particularly when I know there might be a reason to bring it. Taking my granddaughter Harriet for a walk in the neighbourhood is certain to bring a moment worth capturing. Occasionally I’ll forget my phone but instead of rushing back to get it, I’ll leave it. What I still have to resist is the urge to reach for it to capture something she’s doing. But then I’m quickly whisked back into her world and to live it with her. Sometimes we come back and relive the mini-adventure with her mom or grandma and without the aid of a visual spend more time describing what we did and what we saw.

I’m a big fan of Dr. Laurie Santos and the Happiness Lab podcast. This episode dives deep into the idea of sharing and capturing the moment and helps find a nice balance and purpose around it that I hadn’t quite considered. The museum of ice cream is one such place where phones aren’t allowed and its philosophy and experience help explain further why not capturing moments can have to be a wonderful thing.

I don’t write this to try and tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do with their phone or to even humble brag because I have nothing to brag about. I’m also trying to avoid feeling like I’m somehow superior or most disciplined than others. I’m far from either. But I do take delight in being outside without the reliable appendage that I am truly grateful for. It’s not that you can’t do both, you can and I do most of the times but it just was delightful to watch her do something and value it.

Delight 10: Dad’s Emails

My Dad is 88. He is amazing in many respects. He’s healthy, loves life and is a joy to be around. He’s also a great learner. He has learned so many skills in technology from a digital camera to a laptop and more recently an iPhone. All of these things he’s embraced after the age of 70. He calls me weekly with some kind of technical issue he’s trying to resolve. He sees me using an app and wants to know what it is.

I have a great story I’ve told occasionally in my talks but what brings me delight is his emails. No punctuation and no sense of breaks. Just a run-on stream of consciousness.

Dean

aunt della died today she was 92 oh well tomorrow Ill go strawberry picking shot an 86 yesterday it was a really warm day see you soon

dad

That’s the best.

Delight 9: Savouring words

I started my delight project on March 5th. I’ve yet to decide if it was the absolute worst timing or perhaps the absolute best. At the time the Coronavirus was somebody else’s issue. Soon after I started, things escalated quickly and today, of course, we’re facing serious things that makes delight hard to find. No matter the timing of this, I’m forging ahead.

While words and language have always mattered, I feel as information and ideas are so freely accessible and shared, it may be more important than ever to be clear about what we mean.

You can read a couple of posts of mine on language and words. As you can see, I can get worked up about the improper use of words. Another example of this is the work and thinking I’ve done around joy. Often people come up to me after I present and swap out the words “fun” and “happy” for joy. While I’m not opposed to having fun and being happy, that’s not really what I mean when I talk about joy. The definition I most often use is around the expression of well-being. Being well and in a good place is closely associated with fun and happiness but it’s much bigger.

As I started writing about delight, I think people often equate it with gratitude and joy. Again, they are related but different. I would argue the delight is the small, specific things that can lead to joy and gratitude. However, there are many things I’m grateful for that I don’t consider delightful. As well, joy is about well-being and isn’t always about delight. Delight is very specific that that immediately brings a smile to your face or warm emotion. It can include surprises but also routines. I’m concerned that we sometimes miss things that bring us delight because we don’t pause to acknowledge it. Somehow, it’s more natural for us to fixate on negative things and delight requires us to spend time uncovering goodness.

Richard Rohr, a Jesuit priest says,

Neuroscience can now demonstrate the brain indeed has a negative bias; the brain prefers to constellate around fearful, negative, or problematic situations. In fact, when a loving, positive, or unproblematic thing comes your way, you have to savor it consciously for at least fifteen seconds before it can harbor and store itself in your “implicit memory;” otherwise it doesn’t stick. We must indeed savor the good in order to significantly change our regular attitudes and moods. And we need to strictly monitor all the “Velcro” negative thoughts.

https://cac.org/turning-toward-the-good-2016-02-18/

Delight is about savouring. Writing this serious helps me to savour delight. (I also take delight in knowing that I’m using the Canadian version of savour, while he used the American version)

Do you have any words or idea that you savour?